Cameroonian Student Turns Plastic Bottles Into “Eco Fishing Boats”
London, Jan. 26, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Current news emanating from Cameroon may very unpleasant. Major stories from the West African country may be about armed separatist rebels.
The English-speaking separatists — who say they are treated like second-class citizens by the French-speaking majority in the former French and British colony — have been waging a insurrection to carve out an independent state they call Ambazonia.
But that has not stifled creativity and ingenuity of native Cameroonians One native who embodied that spirit is Ismael Essome Ebone, who is turning recycled plastic bottles into what he calls, “EcoBoats
Ebone first came up with the idea in 2011, after trying to figure out a way to reuse all of the discarded plastic bottles that were clogging waterways and exacerbating the issues of flooding in Cameroon. He finally thought to try to turn the bottles into fishing boats, a huge need for the people who live near the rivers.
The bottles worked surprisingly well on the river and Ebone began referring to his reusable boats as Eco Boats. Eventually, he turned his hobby into a nonprofit business called Madiba & Nature.
The organization partners with the Cameroonian government to create “eco bins,” small trash cans made out of plastic bottles that Ebone uses to collect the materials for his boats. Once the bottles are collected, they get tied together to create the Eco Boats which are then used by local fishermen.
Emmanuel Japa, a Cameroonian fisherman said he’s impressed by Ebone’s invention. “The boat is well made. It looks good. In the beginning, we thought it was a joke, but then we realized … it’s a good strong boat,” he said.
Ebone hopes that his boats will help solve dual issues, waste in an area prone to flooding, and scarcity of much needed fishing boats.
Through his organisation, he hopes to encourage more young people to get into the fishing industry, an industry that’s lucrative in his homeland but expensive to get into. He hopes that his Eco Boats will make the career path more viable and encourages the youth to get involved in the process.